Saturday, July 13, 2013

They Just Don't Make Atlases Like They Used To

Muncie, IN -- Area atlas collector Jack Baldwin, 75, put on his trifocals and got out his big magnifying glass to show us his prized possession: a 1960 Reader's Digest World

Atlas. More than just maps, it has astronomy, charts, graphs, a view of the biosphere. But the maps are the thing.

"Every country and town is thoroughly indexed. The maps come within a mm of the binding, so there is a little white gap. That way no text is ever lost. In these new atlases I have to force the two page layout open with my fingers and look for Keminmaa in Finland or Wuhan in China." The scan we made attempts to show this, but came out a little out of focus.

Jack has memorized the countries and knows which ones changed. He does have a DK Atlas for this purpose. "I didn't like the font size in the National Geographic. Somehow the magazines have good maps but the books don't." When a country comes up in discussion that has not changed borders since 1960, Jack always goes for the old RD 1960 volume with the gold embossed globe on the cover. "The Goode atlas is good for the numbers and charts."

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